A reminder: This website serves as an objective reference source for the science and art of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc. are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.
Tonight was the first Presidential debate of the 2016 campaign cycle. Debates always have a tremendous amount of nonverbal material to analyze - and Republicans surely proved this in Cleveland. One profoundly important body language tell is highlighted below.
Many are very interested in chinks in the armor of the front runner. Donald Trump has more than a few and his body language betrayed him multiple times on the stage this evening. In the video clip included above, Moderator Chris Wallace asked Mr. Trump, ".... ah, it has not escaped anybody's notice that you say that the Mexican government, the Mexican government is sending criminals, rapists, drug dealers across the border. Governor Bush has called those remarks, 'Extraordinarily ugly'. I'd like you, you're right next to 'em, tell us, talk to him directly - and say how you respond to that - and, and you have repeatedly said that you have evidence that the Mexican government is doing this, but you have evidence, evidence you have refused or declined to share. Why not use this first Republican Presidential Debate to share your proof with the American people."
Like many a politician, Mr. Trump never answered the question. Mr. Wallace then asked the once again and Donald answered, "Border patrol, I was at the border last week. Border patrol people that I deal with, that I talk to, they say, 'This is what's happening'. Because our leaders are stupid, our politicians are stupid - and the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning - and they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for 'em, they don't wanna take care of 'em. Why should they when the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them? And that's what's happening whether you like it or not."
Immediately after his last word - "not", Mr. Trump inhales deeply, elevates and hunches his shoulders (his right side more so) - as he displays a clear microexpression of fear - showing both a classic "mouth of fear" as well as a less dramatic (and rarely noticed) "neck of fear". The three images below are all captured in rapid sequence during the 2:29 segment - all within 0.20 seconds.
Donald Trump clearly knows that his answer contained anything resembling "evidence". He knows he has painted himself into a political corner with his earlier statement and he fears the repercussions. This nonverbal cluster is a strong signal of deception.
Because Trump feels a very real visceral fear with this lie, his opponents would be well advised to attack him on this specific issue. In his fear he will make other mistakes.
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